Perseverance Rover Spots NASA’s Busted Helicopter at Its Final Resting Place

by carlosdennison

The Perseverance rover spotted the Ingenuity helicopter at its final resting place.

The Perseverance rover spotted the Ingenuity helicopter at its final resting place.
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/Simeon Schmauß

NASA’s iconic Martian duo have officially parted ways, with the Perseverance rover capturing a lonely view of its helicopter friend, which recently suffered a fatal blow that left it unable to fly.

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A recent image beamed down from Mars shows the Ingenuity helicopter parked atop the sand dunes of Mars’ Neretva Vallis, as Perseverance rolls away from its sidekick. The image was taken on Sunday and processed by Simeon Schmauss, a visual design student who turned it into a panorama by stitching together six raw images posted online by NASA.

The Ingenuity helicopter suffered damage during its most recent, and final, flight on January 18, breaking all four of its rotor blades while landing for the 72nd time. NASA is still investigating what may have caused the tiny chopper to break.

The 19-inch-tall (48-centimeter), 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) helicopter is the first powered aircraft to lift off from the surface of another planet. It landed on Mars in February 2021, along with the Perseverance rover, and was originally intended to perform just five test flights over a period of 30 days. Over the past three years, Ingenuity just wouldn’t quit, flying 14 times farther than planned for a total flight time of two hours. The helicopter also became a helpful sidekick for Perseverance, hovering above and guiding the rover along the Martian terrain.

Perseverance and Ingenuity have been exploring Mars’ Jezero Crater, finding evidence of organic molecules in what may have once been an ancient Martian lake. But now Perseverance must continue on its own, leaving Ginny the helicopter behind as it rests along the sandy ripples of Mars.

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